Jazz up your breads with easy-to-do decorative designs. Make your everyday staple more festive and more special for home, family, and friends.
Difficulty level: moderate to difficult
Putting a decorative design on home-baked bread instantly elevates the bread from something everyday and usual to the levels of exotic and exciting! Whether the design is simple or complicated, easy or more difficult, just the fact that you took the extra effort to add that little touch will make your loaf as exciting, and as wonderfully decorative, as a cake.
Simple and complex designs
You don't have to be an expert chef, or a baker with decades of experience to think about including some decoration in your baking. Even if you do need a certain level of confidence and experience to try some of the more complicated decorations, there are numerous simpler options that just about anyone can try. Try something as simple and easy to do as a hand print, or a simple scoring pattern on your bread! A brushing of egg white will add a glaze effect to your loaf, making your decorative design, whether simple or complex, hand-print, score, painting or something more complicated, come alive and shine!
Option 1 -- Hand-print
Step 1 Press in a firm hand-print into the dough, when it is ready to be put into the oven.
Step 2 Bake as usual.
Step 3 Glaze the bread by brushing it over with a basic wash of egg whites, and then baking for 5 minutes, for a bit of extra zing.
Option 2 - Scoring
Step 1 Score the top of the loaf with a knife just before you place it in the oven. This will add a decorative touch to your bread. Many people score their loaves anyway, especially the ones that are not baked in a pan, to help them rise better, and provide a weak spot to direct the oven spring.
Step 2 Pattern the scores into a checkerboard, or other designs.
Step 3 Bake and glaze.
Option 3 - Bread painting
You can do quite amazing things with a paintbrush and some egg. A tinted egg wash, when you do it right, will look like a painting that has been baked on to the loaf! You can make your own tint with an extract of roasted wheat or barley, or simply mix some instant coffee in a little water. Once you have the basic technique down, you can start to incorporate other colors as well.
Step 1 Bake the bread to just about 10 minutes before it is completely done. Leave the oven on 350°F.
Step 2 Mix the tint with some egg yolk. More yolk, less color, so add according to the shade or darkness you want.
Step 3 Make your design on the loaf with paintbrush, using a lighter shade.,
Step 4 Bake the loaf again for about 5 minutes to set the outlines.
Step 5 Paint over the previous design, adding details and contrast with the darker color.
Step 6 Once again, place the loaf back in the oven and bake for another 5 minutes to set the color well.
Step 7 Lightly brush the surface of the loaf with egg white to glaze it.
Step 8 Return it to the oven for a final 5 minutes.
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